Loud and proud at Reading Pride

MUSICIANS and entertainers will speak up against homophobic prejudice and discrimination at a flamboyant festival celebrating equality and diversity.

More than 15,000 people will gather from at Kings Meadow, Reading, from noon on Saturday for Reading Pride 2011 – organised by the town’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The free event, now in its eighth year, features the launch of a new single "Sticks and Stones" by Tadley based singer and guitarist Nicolette Street – highlighting the wrongs of bullying, reported the Reading Chronicle.

Reading Gay chorus and LGBT members dubbing themselves the Reading All Stars will perform a mass rendition of the four minute song on the main stage and offer people copies of the CD complete with a dance remix.

Pride chair Lorna McArdle said: "Music always unites people and this is a great opportunity to raise awareness that people face discrimination in their lives. Many people in the crowd who can relate to it."

The day begins with a colourful ‘Enchanted Garden’ themed parade from the Civic Centre at 11.30am – winding its way through Broad Street Mall, Market Square and Forbury Gardens to the event.

Headliners include dance duo Booty Luv supported by a host of artists including boyband Eli Prime and drag queen Lola Lasagne.

There will also be mud wrestling, pole dancing, a funfair and a family enclosure plus stalls set up by representatives from the Thames Valley Gay Police Association, LGBT helpline BeYou, Thames Valley Positive Support, Reach Out and Gay Berkshire.

Pride parade director Andy Adams said: "Reading has always had one of the most community focused Pride festivals and we will be demonstrating the Pride spirit. Despite social and legislative progress in many areas of LGBT rights, there are still many hearts and mind to be won."

The Sticks and Stones CD is on sale for a recommended donation of £3 and is also available to download on the iTunes, Amazon and Napster for 79p.

See www.readingpride.co.uk or visit ReadingPrideUK on Facebook or follow @Reading_Pride on Twitter.

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